Geography, imagination and understanding the world around us

Logo of the RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2011. © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

by Madeleine Hatfield

As the first term of the UK’s current academic year draws to an end, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual Conference of August and September already seems a long time ago – in fact, planning for next year’s conference in July is well underway. Those who attended will remember a wide range of papers and presenters sharing their research under the theme of ‘Geographical Imagination’. Several of the research projects behind these presentations also made the news, showing how geographical research informs wider debates, including Tom Hargreave’s work on smart energy meters, Jon Anderson’s research on surfing and coastal conservation and Jenny Pickerill on the short-comings of ‘eco-bling’.

The Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers journal offers another window onto the geographical imagination with its Virtual Issue guest edited by the conference chair, Stephen Daniels (University of Nottingham). This brings together papers – still free to access online at the time of writing – published across the history of the journal and shows how the concept of a geographical imagination can provide a new way of understanding places, how we think about them and how we represent them through our writing and maps. Our understanding of the world around us is always influenced by our imagination, not just when we dream or write stories, and our imagination is equally fed by everything we see and do – reading the news, attending lectures or going on holiday.

Daniels, S. ed. 2011. Virtual Issue on The Geographical Imagination. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Dr. Jon Anderson’s Spatial Manifesto website with audio and visual media coverage from the BBC.

Bawden, T. 2011. The Smart answer to the energy crisis? The Independent, 1 October 2011. [Report on Tom Hargreave’s research as presented at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference]

In Loughborough. 2011. When eco-friendly means eco-bling. 15 September 2011. [Report on Jenny Pickerill’s research as presented at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference]

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference.

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